Northwest Military Blogs: McChord Flightline Chatter

January 4, 2018 at 12:27pm

Award recognizes wellness in action

Col. Sonkiss, 62nd Airlift Wing commander, left, presents Master Sgt. Benjamin Harrison, 4th Airlift Squadron first sergeant, with the Healthy Squadron Award trophy Dec. 13, 2017, at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Photo credit: Master Sgt. Shanda L. De Anda

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The 4th Airlift Squadron earned the Healthy Squadron Award during the trophy's inaugural presentation at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Dec. 13. Col. Rebecca Sonkiss presented the trophy to Master Sgt. Benjamin Harrison, 4th AS first sergeant, on behalf of his unit, in recognition of wellness accomplishments throughout 2017.

The Healthy Squadron Award supports the Commander's Wellness Program (CWP) pilot, which is an environmental and policy approach to influencing the health of airmen. The objective of CWP is to provide an evidence-based approach to influencing behavior change, which, in turn, has a positive effect on productivity, presentism and absenteeism. This also has potential impacts to readiness, which makes it a priority.

"The commander authorizes us to take 90 minutes (for physical training), three days a week and with flying schedules and ops tempo, we do (independent) PT," said Harrison. "Everyone just makes sure they get done what they need to get done."

This philosophy is one that the CWP pilot hopes to further encourage. Dr. Danielle Knutson, 62nd Medical Squadron health promotion coordinator, took the CWP objective and, using the evidence-based County Health Rankings Framework as a model, ranked each squadron's CWP health findings.

"Since counties are available in all sizes and shapes and the research review shows they can rank their health promotion data, it makes sense to rank squadrons' health promotion data since they, too, come in all sizes and shapes," Knutson summarized.

She compared the Team McChord findings with overall Air Force averages. This ranking included scores for body mass indexes, tobacco use, physical training and deployment rates.

"The major goal of rankings is to raise awareness about the many factors that influence health, and to provide squadron commanders with solid data to better target intervention and resources to areas where they like to improve, said Knutson. "Also, adding a nice annual traveling trophy is fun, too, and hopefully encourages healthy competition and collaboration."

That spirit of healthy competition seems well on its way as Harrison added, "We're going to stay the course; (and, as Richard Morgan Fliehr, better known as Ric Flair of 1980s and 1990s wrestling notoriety, would say,) ‘to be the man, you have to beat the man.'"

For the next unit to earn the annual roving CWP trophy, they will have to excel in additional areas not ranked this year, but will contribute to 2018 CWP rankings. Those areas include sleep, nutrition and physical activity measures using annual physical health assessment data analysis.

For more information on wellness programs for yourself and your unit, contact Knutson at danielle.o.knutson.civ@mail.mil or 253.982.6947.

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